Bridging The Gap Between Houselessness & Stable Housing

Transitional housing provides people a temporary place to stay while they wait for a more permanent solution. This solution may come in the form of a large enough paycheck or even a cheap enough apartment. Temporary housing is difficult to build by traditional methods because it could be needed for anywhere from a few weeks to a few years at a time depending on an individual's circumstance.

The houseless population is made up of people who are houseless for different reasons with differing prospects in their futures. For example, there are people who were evicted for violating a lease’s terms, who couldn’t afford rent, who escaped situations of domestic violence, who have been unable to find a suitable apartment for their family within their budget, and many more. Some newly-houseless people need a place to stay for a couple of weeks until they can find a new apartment, and some only need to wait until their next paycheck comes in. Others have no savings to fall back on and have no idea when they are going to be able to afford a new place [2].

Media outlets often blame the increasing size of California's homeless population on mental illness or drug addiction. However, even before COVID-19, it is the state’s housing shortage that is to blame for many people’s situations [1]. Due to the 2019 housing shortage, rents increased at a rate of twice the national average, putting thousands of people onto the streets – at least temporarily [1]. With the growing population of houseless people with a variety of unique circumstances we need to have a supportive, flexible, and low-cost housing options that could work for anyone's needs and location.

The ultimate goal for most houseless individuals is to obtain a permanent housing solution, be it renting an apartment or buying a home, but there is an undeniably large societal jump between living in a car or a tent and having a place to call your own. It is unrealistic to assume that most people living on the streets are going to be able to come up with the necessary documents, money, and references to allow them to obtain things like a bank loan or even a clean outfit for an interview. Many landlords require prospective tenants to have proof of steady income, or at least considerable savings, before they will consider them, and will often perform credit checks and background checks on their applicants. Most jobs these days require potential employees to have a current, active bank account in order to deposit earnings. Additionally, those who are houseless but have jobs may not be able to afford transportation from their supportive housing location to work each day, and are therefore unable to accept a place in a supportive housing complex if it is too far from their place of work. All of these scenarios make it clear that the societal and economic barriers that stop houseless Americans from being able to move out of their cars or tents and into apartments are large.

Of course the existing permanent housing solutions are effective in many ways. However they struggle to do so on a large enough scale to meet specific needs. For example, most existing programs in California are specific to certain cities, are inflexible in the size and number of accommodations they can provide at any given moment, and are notoriously difficult to apply for, let alone to be accepted for. The housing options themselves are non-customizable, often inaccessible for physically disabled individuals, and cannot be relocated. Often, housing shelters require occupants to adhere to strict rules regarding sobriety, which is unrealistic for those struggling with addiction. Permanent transitional housing options do not often require sobriety or have other similar rules, but because of the other issues outlined above, they still do not work for a lot of people [3]. At the end of the day, the existing housing options in California are unable to help the majority of the homeless population as there is lack of available space. Americans need better stepping stones to help bridge this gap between homelessness and home ownership, and they need these stepping stones to be more accommodating to their individual situations. BOSS Cubez aims to be one of these stones.

BOSS Cubez are portable, livable units that cost little to build and maintain. They can be

built on any foundation, making them an incredibly flexible option. They can also be quickly dismantled and relocated when needed, causing no permanent damage to existing structures or land, and leaving behind no trace of their existence. BOSS Cubez can be combined to make units large enough for families, or used on their own to create individual pods. Regardless of the setup, occupants enjoy cleanliness, security, and safety from the elements within these cubes, allowing them to keep themselves and their belongings safe. These are all aspects of shelter that traditional transitional housing can usually provide as well, but the largest benefits that BOSS Cubez provides for homeless individuals – which can’t be guaranteed in the same way by existing housing programs – are privacy and dignity. The ability to provide completely private units with locked doors and separate entrances is unique to BOSS Cubez, and sets them apart from transitional programs like homeless shelters or group living centers. Occupants of BOSS Cubez are able to call their space their own, without fear of losing possessions or having to share facilities with strangers, which is a source of particularly heightened concern among the homeless population right now, due to the pandemic. Lastly, the price is so affordable due to its low cost design and engineering. This allows more units to be set up rapidly for a low cost, opening up space for more Americans.

Overall, BOSS Cubez’ mission is to help people maintain a semblance of normal life during this vulnerable, difficult time, and they do so by personalizing their support systems in a way that traditional transitional housing methods can’t.